Dramatic comedy explores the possibility of transformation when two women step out of their comfort zones
CINCINNATI –Sharon, a recently divorced homemaker from Iowa, needs a roommate. Robyn, a slam poet from New York, needs a chance to start over. When they find each other through a roommate listing, hilarity (and some illegal activity) ensues. Beginning Sept. 21, Shelterhouse audiences can come along for the ride in THE ROOMMATE and watch two empty-nesters navigate the rocky roads of change. The play runs through Oct. 21 (Opening Night is Sept. 27.).
The darkly humorous story by Jen Silverman features two bad-ass women in their fifties who each push the other’s comfort zones, breaking the rules and the law along the way. Or as the L.A. Times describes it, “Jen Silverman brings humor and a wicked sense of anarchic fun.”
THE ROOMMATE opened Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2015 and was adored by audiences and critics alike. It has since received many productions including Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Silverman, a rising star in theatre, has received The Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and recently landed the prestigious Playwrights of New York (PoNY) fellowship. The world premiere of her play All the Roads Home debuted at the Playhouse in 2017.
Silverman writes about complicated and authentic women, and, with THE ROOMMATE, she addresses the lack of meaty roles for women in their fifties. She recently told American Theatre, “Women are allowed to be onstage as long as they’re talking about their husband. I’m interested in the territories that these exceptions are taking up and being part of that conversation. And that to me feels personally and politically and artistically important.”
Each of the Playhouse’s productions in the Shelterhouse this season was penned by women, and four of the five plays features a woman in the director’s chair.
“In recent years, we’ve focused on bringing women’s voices to the forefront of our season programming,” explains Blake Robison, artistic director of the Playhouse. “Jen Silverman is part of a new generation of writers whose voices deserve to be heard in our nation’s large institutional theatres. She has a singular voice. Her characters are vivid and their stories intertwine in elegant and unexpected ways.”
Tracy Brigden, who directs the production, says it’s the type of play she really enjoys bringing to the stage: “It checks all the boxes for me: it makes you both laugh and cry, it’s a universal story told in a very specific context, there are juicy roles for two extraordinary actresses to really dig into, it’s smart, and it has a well-structured plot that makes you think it’s going to be one thing but surprises you along the way.”
Margaret Daly (Sharon); Mary Jo Mecca (Robyn)
Jen Silverman (Playwright), Tracy Brigden (Director); Anne Mundell (Set Designer); Tracy Christensen (Costume Designer); Lindsay Jones (Original Music and Sound Designer); Stephanie Klapper, CSA (Casting Director); Andrea L. Shell (Stage Manager)
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.
Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, at 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Individual tickets start at just $35. Tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances are priced at just $10 for college students with a valid school ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. Discounted ticket prices for and teens are $30.
Production Sponsors are Digi and Mike Schueler. Artist Sponsors are Charles and Joann Mead. Season Sponsor is Heidelberg Distributing Company and Season Design Sponsors are Allan Berliant and Jennie Rosenthal Family Fund. Season Sponsor of New Work is the Rosenthal Family Foundation. The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of almost 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation.
The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs, and complete wheelchair access are available.